THE microrenewables industry in the UK is growing rapidly as a result of government schemes and financial incentives such as the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) which encourages the uptake of microgeneration technologies at a domestic or small community and commercial scale.
The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) acts as both a technology and market developer to support the roll out of these relatively new technologies. Our experts use their in-depth knowledge of renewables, government schemes and UK energy policy to develop commercially viable energy strategies and plans for urban regeneration schemes, researching and developing new technologies as well as providing strategic energy advice to both public and private businesses.
Narec is actively involved in a number of demonstration and technical consultancy projects in relation to sustainable buildings, thermal housing efficiency improvements and retrofitting of domestic properties; helping the UK to achieve its 2016 zero carbon building regulation targets.
In addition, Narec has developed a comprehensive programme of practical microrenewable training courses for technicians to install, operate and maintain renewable energy systems. Training now to avoid skills gaps in the future by up-skilling heating engineers, plumbers and electricians.
Solar PV and solar thermal systems will make a major contribution to our future energy supplies, from schemes incorporated into the built environment and from new solar farms. The technologies are very different and have differing applications – solar PV systems convert light from sunlight into electricity that can be used to power a home’s demand for products such as domestic appliances, while solar thermal systems convert light from the sun into heat which is usually used for water heating.
Since the launch of the FiT in April 2010 the number of solar PV installations carried out has now reached almost 60,000 and total installed capacity of systems commissioned is 170MW, with just over 160MW being attributed to domestic systems – proving that UK households are warming to the significant benefits and financial rewards now offered for solar PV systems.
Narec, a cluster partner of the NE hub for the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies, which is supporting the demand for solar PV systems has recently delivered a new practical course for the roof installation of solar PV and solar thermal panels to newly recruited technicians from GB Renewable Energy. The new day long training course equips roofers and builders with the necessary skills to correctly mount and install solar panels ready for electrical connection.
Narec’s training courses, accredited by EAL, are mapped to national occupational standards providing companies with high quality recognised training. These training courses complement the on-going energy master planning work and regeneration being undertaken by Narec for a number of local authorities; formulating sustainable energy action plans and citywide climate change strategies to deliver regeneration across their respective cities.
Simon Johnson, Energy Services Manager, Newcastle City Council said: “Narec’s knowledge and expertise in delivering energy master planning and training for the built environment is helping the council to drive forward the delivery of low-carbon energy schemes. This co-ordinates activity across the council, stakeholders and city, helping us to achieve the national and European carbon reduction targets as part of the 2010 EU Covenant of Mayors Agreement.”